Release Date: 03/24/17
You’ve fallen asleep and have awoken in 2006. You turn on the radio and the first thing you hear is “Misery” by Creeper. You sign into MySpace and see they’re touring in direct support of My Chemical Romance’s Black Parade tour and mark it off on your calendar. You go to school and at least every 20th person you pass is wearing a Creeper t-shirt… then you really awake, and ah fuck. Alas, it’s 2017!
I’ve been surprised for all kinds of reasons when listening to newer music, rarely do I hear such a spot-on nostalgia trip that manages to sound fresh on its own. These songs are huge and dramatic, undeniably and unbelievably catchy, and all sound like they were written with every lesson you could’ve learned from within the confines of these featured genres over the past nearly two decades. Genre’s ranging from pop punk, “horror punk” (I guess this loose designation includes My Chemical Romance, in Creeper’s case more Three Cheers than Black Parade, and AFI, more Art of Drowning and Sing the Sorrow than anything else), emo, and post-hardcore. For such a modern band, it’s really refreshing to hear a couple fast tracks on here (“Poison Pens” and “Room 309”), the latter of which is an album highlight for me. The chorus gives me chills every time I listen to it.
The album starts out with the huge, dramatic “Black Rain” featuring one of the catchiest choruses this side of ’06, before launching into the legit punk speed of “Poison Pens”, even featuring some gang vocals, which now that I think of it, have kind of been missing in more recent hardcore, so even this is, in a sense, a throwback!
“Suzanne” has different vibes than the first two tracks. It’s a bit more upbeat and less morose, but the chorus is again, just stunningly hook-laden. One thing I noticed quickly with this album is that it only took two or three listens to each track to have them get stuck in your head. It’s literally that level of melody.
Speaking of choruses, “Hiding With the Boys'” chorus is just huge. Layers of harmonized vocals converge to create another chorus with wow factor enough to singlehandedly drive several bands careers. Again, if only this were only 2005 or 2006.
“Misery” is currently the bands most popular track. It’s essentially a ballad, and unlike a lot of the other tracks on this album, I do think this one sounds more like today’s music, or at the very least, like something that likely wouldn’t have existed 12 years ago. It’s an emotive and highly impassioned track that features quite an impressive build-up by its final chorus refrain.
“Down Below” is a great borderline Misfits-esque quintessential punk rock sing-a-long song. All I can think of during this chorus is having a mug of beer, having my arms around a couple buddies and shouting this at the top of my lungs. That said, this is one of my least favorite tracks on the album, but it is a nice change of pace and does add some color to the palette, which means it’s probably a good idea to have kept this track around.
The aforementioned “Room 309” is next. I absolutely love this song. Chills city. Contrasting the speed of this song, another ballad-like tune “Crickets” is next, featuring lead vocals from keyboardist Hannah Greenwood this time around.
The album continues on with “Darling” and “Winona Forever”. These tracks kind of highlight my propensity towards the darker and more dramatic, considering “Darling” has some of the lighter moments on here, and though it’s a fine song, I feel it’s one of the weaker moments on here. The way the chorus changes from the verse is neat though. “Winona Forever” is also pretty neat because I get some Tiger Army vibes, which was another unexpected element to come across, plus that guitar riff that leads off the song is just freakin’ awesome.
Another great sing-song tune “I Choose to Live” finishes out the album – a defiant chorus inspires you to sing along with positive words that unfortunately too many people need to hear. Hopefully the catharsis of singing at the top of one’s lungs can make these same people feel better. It feels good just listening to this track.
If you grew up through the various music scenes of the 2000’s and also have an affinity for punk rock, this album is going to touch your soul. This is one of the most unexpected finds of 2017 and I’m incredibly happy I stumbled upon it last year (thanks to it being one of the highest rated albums of 2017 on review aggregator Metacritic). I wish the rest of the rock-based world wasn’t in such a sad state, because I’d like to see Creeper doing worldwide headlining tours, or at least supporting bands with a… more mature fan base.
Highlights: “Black Rain”, “Hiding With the Boys”, “Misery”, “Room 309”